Balagan Theatre and Contemporary Classics Present NEXT TO NORMAL, Feb 2013

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Two of Seattle's award-winning theatre companies, Balagan Theatre and Contemporary Classics, will co-produce the Seattle premiere of Broadway rock musical Next to Normal in February 2013. The Tony Award-winning show rounds out Balagan's 2012-2013 mainstage season and is the first Contemporary Classics production since 2010's The Yellow Wood, winner of two Gregory Awards.

Next to Normal will be directed by one of Seattle's hottest young directors, Contemporary Classics Artistic Director Brandon Ivie, whose Broadway credits include Catch Me If You Can (dramaturg/script consultant) and Next to Normal (assistant to Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt). Ivie was the 2010 Gregory Award recipient for Person to Watch; he recently directed the Footlight Award-winning Cinderella at The 5th Avenue Theatre, where he spent four seasons as casting associate and artistic projects manager.

"The Seattle premiere of Next to Normal is a homecoming in two significant ways," says Ivie. "The show was birthed at Village Theatre by Issaquah native and former associate artistic director of Brian Yorkey. Also, Next to Normal was the first Broadway show I worked on. I'm looking forward to reimagining the show for the especially intimate setting of Balagan's new space, and I'm excited to let some of Seattle's great musical theater actors loose on this fantastic, complicated material."

Called a groundbreaking, powerhouse rock musical, Next to Normal tells the powerful, emotional story of a mother struggling with bipolar disorder, and her family struggling to hold it together. "Like all good musicals, it breaks your heart without crushing your hope," said reviewer Charles McNulty (Los Angeles Times). Among its many accolades, Next to Normal won three Tony Awards and received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, becoming the eighth musical in history to receive the prestigious honor.

Next to Normal joins a mainstage season at Balagan that is packed to the gills with Broadway punch: Avenue Q, winner of the Tony Award "Triple Crown;" Hedwig and the Angry Inch, starring young musical theater star and renowned Seattle drag queen Jerick Hoffer (RENT, Spring Awakening); and August: Osage County, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

"Working with Contemporary Classics is a perfect fit for Balagan in our vision to make our home, the Erickson Theatre, a true community venue for artists and audiences," says Executive Director Jake Groshong. "With each company putting forward their best, our co-productions widen the net of resources and talent to create a show that matches each company's artistic goals while sharing the significant financial cost of producing a mainstage musical. I am confident this will be the greatest co-production Balagan has taken part of to date."

Contemporary Classics is dedicated to the production and development of new, contemporary musicals. CC has produced the Seattle premieres of Zanna, Don't! (The Seattle Times Footlight Award), john & jen, The Last Five Years, A New Brain, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and the new musical The Yellow Wood. In addition, CC produces the wildly popular New Voices series at both Seattle Repertory Theatre and ACT Theatre, a songwriter showcase that brings Seattle some of musical theatre's brightest up-and-coming writers, all performed by local singers; and Showtune Suckapunch, a new musical development program that gives writers six weeks to create a new piece of material with a director and two weeks to workshop and showcase that material. This program has produced the world premiere readings of Over Seas by Orlando Morales and Razia's Shadow by Thomas Dutton, Paul Dutton and Lonnie Angle. For more information, visit www.contemporaryclassics.org.

Formed to embrace the immense talents of local theatre artists, Balagan Theatre strives to create smart and fearless theatre of the highest artistic quality. Since the first production six years ago, Balagan has grown from another upstArt Theatre into one of the more exciting and successful theatre companies in Seattle, now in their new home at the Erickson Theatre on Capitol Hill. From Footlight-award winning shows like Arabian Nights, Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog and Picasso at the Lapin Agile to "Best of the Year" productions like Elephant's Graveyard, Big Love and Trout Stanley, Balagan is known for consistent artistic success no matter what genre or period of theatre is being tackled. With a mission to develop new audiences for theatre, the entire community finds something for them at Balagan. For more information, visit www.balagantheatre.org.

Balagan Theatre is generously supported by the Washington State Arts Commission, Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, 4Culture, National Endowment for the Arts, The Seattle Foundation, and numerous individuals.

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